The challenge of TV advertising is only going to get tougher: Rana Barua

Barua, CEO, Contract Advertising talks about the challenges of creating an effective TV ad with the rise of long format digital ads

e4m by Collin Furtado
Updated: Dec 9, 2014 8:11 AM
The challenge of TV advertising is only going to get tougher: Rana Barua

Creating a television ad has always been challenge with the time constraints of the medium. With the advent of digital medium, these constraints are however have diminished with longer formats of storytelling. Rana Barua, CEO, Contract Advertising, (who is also a jury member of the exchange4media Prime Time Awards to be held on January 22, 2015), spoke to us about the challenges agencies face in creating TV campaigns, effectiveness of TV campaigns in terms of ROI, clutter breaking ads and future trends in TV advertising industry.    

What are the challenges agencies face in creating and strategizing of advertising campaigns on TV today in India?

The most important challenge is to communicate the story in a given time frame that we run on television. I say so because the digital medium is actually allowing for longer engagement through long format ads. Not getting the entire story telling into a very concise way the TV works is naturally becoming the biggest challenge especially in our country. In a way time is of essence, which I understand, but that also is now the biggest challenge of how do I tell a story in such a short time. Because there is a parallel medium that actually allows you to speak for longer. So basically I can sum it by saying storytelling to the consumer in a shorter time format is a challenge. The point is that consumers like to be engaged, so naturally they spend time on other mediums; TV is a very brief medium.

What are the essential ingredients needed today for a TV campaign to break through the clutter and make a brand stand out from the rest?

I would say primarily it is high on storytelling. Humour and emotion work, but irrespective of humour or emotion as long as there is an engagement story that makes it a clutter-breaker every time because the engagement with the consumer goes up. As long as there is a definite story telling in any film you will always find the quotient higher.

How effective are TV ad campaigns in comparison to other media in terms ROI?

TV brings the highest ROI because if you are looking at storytelling, TV is above everything and naturally the reach of the medium is unparalleled in our country. So ROI naturally will be maximum via TV because that is the largest in the country and ROI is primarily measured on reach. So the more you reach out to people, the better; then the engagement quotient can be the second layer. The reach of any medium is far lesser. TV’s ROI is naturally going to be maximum which is why the greater the story, whether it is a story through humour or emotions, the better the engagement and the better the engagement naturally the consumer understands and engages with the brand better.

Where do you see the future moving towards for TV campaigns in terms of trends in India?

It is only going to get tougher. The challenge is facing us very boldly which is it is not just about plain story, it is about getting the story into a definitive time frame. I would say the challenge is only going to get tougher in the years coming by. If digital emerges as a very strong medium of storytelling you will find longer formats and better storytelling happening in it and a very truncated, edited version coming on television. So I have a feeling that going forward that you may find both the mediums running a same film parallel, the main story being told in the digital medium and a tighter version being run on the digital medium.       

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